Sardinia entry list breaks new record
20 new-generation World Rally Cars set to tackle round five of the championship
The 2011 World Rally Championship resumes on the Italian island of Sardinia next month with a record-breaking 20 new-generation World Rally Cars set to tackle round five of the 13-event season.
Seven-time world champion Sebastien Loeb heads the list of seeded entries in his Citroen DS3 WRC by virtue of the fact that the Frenchman tops the drivers’ classification following his third-place finish on the recent Jordan Rally.
Finland’s Mikko Hirvonen is seeded second in his factory Ford Fiesta RS WRC with Sebastien Ogier, winner of the last two rounds, third in his Citroen.
Jari-Matti Latvala (Fiesta) and Petter Solberg (Citroen) complete the top five starters with Mads Ostberg sixth in his M-Sport Stobart Fiesta, one of 10 examples of the car in action.
Daniel Oliveira is the highest-seeded MINI John Cooper Works WRC driver and goes 13th in his Brazil World Rally Team entry. Dani Sordo is seeded 15th with fellow MINI WRC Team driver Kris Meeke 16th. Armindo Araujo and Patrik Flodin will also be at the wheel of the Prodrive-developed machines.
PG Andersson and Evgeny Novikov make their second starts of the season in their privateer Fiestas after impressing in Sweden and Mexico respectively.
There is a first start of the season for Peter van Merksteijn Sr, who will line up alongside his son Peter Jr in a second Van Merksteijn Motorsport Citroen DS3. However, Ice 1 Racing’s Kimi Raikkonen has not included the Olbia-based rally on his programme of events.
The Super 2000 World Rally Championship has attracted 10 starters headed by title leader Karl Kruuda in a Skoda Fabia S2000. Juho Hanninen returns to the series following his podium finish in Mexico in his works-supported Fabia.
Eighteen FIA WRC Academy representatives will also be competing in their identical Pirelli-shod Ford Fiesta R2s prepared by M-Sport including Italians Matteo Brunello and Andrea Crugnola.
Other highlights on the bulging 64-car entry are Matti Rantanen, who will give the R4-specification Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X its WRC debut, Jari Ketomaa, Italian Production Car World Rally Championship veteran Gianluca Linari, Egyptian driver Hassan Aly Ahmed Abdelbaset and Saudi Yazeed Al Rahji, who will pilot a Kronos Racing Peugeot 207.
The event 339.70 competitive kilometres over 18 special stages and runs from 5-8 May.
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